CCW traffic stop - avoiding Drama

Discussion in 'P-3AT' started by wheelguy, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. wheelguy

    wheelguy New Member

    May 4, 2007
    I haven't seen this one posted in a while, so with recent experience in this problem, and after reading past posts of what not to do - in priority order...

    1. Get your DL, CHL, and insurance in-hand before the officer walks up. Hand them to him before he has to say anything. This will allow you to keep your hands in view, and well away from your weapon, and tells the officer that you're one of the good guys. The LEO who pulled me over told me that this is 1 of the 3 things that prevented him from laying me out on the ground.

    2. When I get in the car, I move my weapon from whatever holster I am using at the time, and put it muzzle first under my thigh with the grip sticking out. Very easy to do with a P3AT. An in-car holster can accomplish the same goals - allows quick access if you need it, and allows you to exit the car separating yourself from your weapon without having to put your hand anywhere near your weapon.

    It is difficult for others to see the grip of small weapons when thigh carrying in this manner. The LEO who pulled me over was at the passenger's side window - same as my weapon's grip. Yet, because of the dark seat, dark pants, and small size of the weapon - he didn't see it. That suits me just fine - keeps him from panicking before he has mentally processed my CHL. When he asked me where it was, I pointed to it with my finger about 2 feet away from it. Which brings us to 3...

    3. The officer will then tell you exactly what to do, so look him in the eye, and do exactly what he says - slowly.

    Of course, it also goes without saying that other things contribute to a good outcome. A cooperative attitude, decent attire, and a clean record probably help. I also take off my sun glasses so I can look him in the eye - helps with clear communication.

    So, be safe out there - and don't get shot by the good guys  :eek:
  2. burley

    burley Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2006
    Maybe this should be in the counter??

    I like to keep both hands on the wheel (up in the open where they can be seen well). I don't go moven' all around getting licence and stuff ready , moven' around makes Cops nervous . If I can get the lic. out easy I will and have it in hand. I never get in the glove box unless asked to get a registration.( in Ks you do not have to show CCW unless asked) , but I'v only got warnings in the last 25 years , no tickets so I'v hardly been asked for ID  ;)
    I alway say sir with a yes or a no in the apropriate place. Never tell them why they pulled you over , (I ask what's up officer? Remember sometimes their day sucks too so try to start it off friendly ;))

  3. adamsesq

    adamsesq New Member

    Dec 25, 2006
    This totally belongs in The Counter and I am sure will get moved there shortly.

    There is no one size fits all answer to this. Each state has different requirements and even where you don't have to notify each stop is going to determine whether to do so or not would benefit you (or the officer.)

    And I will +1 what Burley said, NEVER NEVER NEVER answer "do you know why I stopped you today" with the admission of a crime/violation!!! You DON'T know why he stopped you, only he does. You can presume a lot but you don't know and you don't want to get suckered into that.

  4. Hoopster

    Hoopster New Member

    Jan 10, 2009
    Good thread topic! Here's a nice tip for those of you who live in states like Kentucky that can carry a loaded handgun in the glove box without a CCW permit. Keep your registration and proof of insurance on your visor that way you don't immediately have to divulge that you have a handgun. Of course don't lie if asked.
    I don't know if it's required but with CCW license, when asked for my license, I'll give both and let the LEO decide how he feels comfortable proceeding from there.
  5. wheelguy

    wheelguy New Member

    May 4, 2007
    Counter? New members don't go there, so I felt this could be more beneficial to newer members who haven't seen it before. Besides, it involved a P3AT :)

    Scott - I'm curious, in what traffic stop situation would it be best to NOT automatically hand over your license and CHL without being asked - when you're carrying?
  6. billjohnso20

    billjohnso20 Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2008
    In MO you have to give the officer your CCW along with your license. At least that's how I understand it. I've only been pulled over once here in MO. That was by one of our LEOs here in Weston. Nancy read me the riot act. She then high-fived my wife who was in the passenger's seat when my wife told her that she had warned me to watch me speed before we pulled out of the drive. I took it in stride because I was only going 6 miles an hour over the limit. Nancy let me go since we had just moved here. And yes, Officer Nancy does indeed keep her eyes open for me. Fortunately, I too have my eye out for here.

    I know that I will be stopped at some point by another LEO. I'll only reveal my gun if asked for its location, after I show the officer my DL and my CCW. AAR, as other have said, there really is no universal method on handling a traffic stop. Discretion is still the better part of valor.
  7. norton

    norton New Member

    Jan 25, 2008
    In Michigan you are required to tell the LEO that you are armed. As a former LEO it's a good idea to state where the handgun is located. Prior to the approach of the officer, get your license, proof of insurance, registration and your cpl out. If you cannot: have your hands on the steering wheel and ask permission before you move. Traffic stops are very dangerous. Here in the metro Detroit area, many officers have been killed or wounded during a routine stop. Aside from being the law it's a courtesy which may in fact work for you.
  8. pocketgun

    pocketgun Guest

    May 4, 2005
    There is no requirement to inform the officer where I live (Nevada) unless asked about it.  I see very little upside to telling a LEO I am armed.  If he doesn't disarm you, then the idea that you are armed is going to be a distraction, even if it is just a little one.  I would never shoot a police officer at a traffic stop, but of course, this individual doesn't know that and is now going to be somewhat on edge.  All too easy to have your actions misinterpreted - something as automatic as reaching to deactivate a vibrating cell phone might get you shot.  I once had an officer panic when I reached for my sweatshirt after being invited outside for a field sobriety test on a cold December evening (I was sober, thanks for asking).  It took me a good five seconds to figure out Officer Fife's spasmodic thrashing was actually a failed attempt to draw his sidearm, not some sort of fit.  (He didn't appreciate the "good thing it wasn't a weapon, huh Quickdraw" comment - didn't make him feel any better I am afraid...)

    OTOH, disarming me now involves someone else handling my weapon.  The possibility of a dropped weapon, a damaged weapon, or a unintentionally discharged weapon (resulting in property damage, or injury to him, me, or others) is real.  Most LEOs I have met don't handle weapons, especially pocket pistols, very well.  I don't need swept with my pistol.  I don't need all the ammo removed from my magazine, or any other things that waste my time.  A round that is dropped on the ground will need to be searched for.  There just isn't anything good for me that can come from an officer disarming me.

    So IMO, it is best to leave firearms out of any discussion with a LEO, unless compelled to do so by statute.  
  9. doubloon

    doubloon New Member

    Jan 5, 2008
    Houston-ish, TX
    +1 to Burley and Scott on the question, I have probably been stopped more than many people here have had birthdays and the one time I answered this question the response I got was "Nope, but now that you mention it." and an extra violation.

    +1 to what PG says about notification, know the law and follow it, you will not lose points for following the law

    100% agree with Burley on the movement and prep work.

    The only think I do before the officer reaches my car is turn off the engine and roll down the window. Then my hands immediately take a high position on the steering wheel and stay there. I do not take my hands from that position until my good buddy the officer asks me to move them.

    I don't even check the mirror when he's walking up, I don't want him to see me seeing him walking up to the car. I don't want him to think I'm timing his arrival.

    In my experience, even before you get to the point where the question is asked, big points can be won by pulling over as quickly as possible to the nearest shoulder/curb and left or right does not matter. I have found that most police vehicles are equipped with this nifty little loud speaker device and they have absolutely no reservations about getting on it to let you know you have pulled over in the wrong place.

    However, if you drive along the road looking for a "good place" to pull over ... the officer doesn't know if you're hiding dope or loading a gun. They don't like it much when you take a long time to pull over.

    Besides the extra violation my only bad experience so far following these rules has been one time standing outside the car talking to one officer while another was going through the car and the officer I was talking to asked me to retrieve my license which I told him was in the glove compartment ... for some reason he neglected to tell a third officer he sent me to the car. I don't know about you but the cocking of a hammer behind your back is not a sound you ever want to hear twice, I didn't even ever want to hear it once but it's too late for that.
  10. pocketgun

    pocketgun Guest

    May 4, 2005
    I can't imagine why he was going through your car, but the answer to the question "Is it OK to search your car?" is always "No." If he has probable cause he can/will search the car without your permission. Translate his question to: "Is it OK if I try and screw you over?" then answer appropriately. Telling him to pound sand is probably not a great idea, so "No" gets the nod instead.

    Not sure what type of firearm the officer was pointing at you, but most departments have policies forbidding cocking the hammer on DA/SA weapons like that IIRC.
  11. trekgod3

    trekgod3 New Member

    Feb 28, 2006
    I disagree with a few points. I would not hand the officer your CCW license with your DL and registration. Rule #1 is you never volunteer any information. If the officer didn't ask if are carrying a gun or have one in the vehicle, don't tell him. If he asks you to step out of the vehicle and wants to pat you down, THEN I would inform him I have a weapon on me and am licensed to carry it. If the weapon is in your vehicle, I would only inform him about it if he is searching you car. I would tell him "I have a handgun securely encased in the glovebox, console,etc." In Florida you can legally have a firearm in you car if it is "securely encased", you don't need a CCW. Just my two cents.
  12. riverkeeper

    riverkeeper New Member

    Aug 30, 2006
    In WA state we're essentially required to have the weapon on our person -- no glove boxes etc. The DL and CCW databases can readily be linked but generally are not for traffic stops.

    IF stopped I plan to provide the pile of paper as suggested and keep hands on the wheel --
    Possibly add "Officer I have the weapon on me what would you like me to do>
  13. wheelguy

    wheelguy New Member

    May 4, 2007
    Have you actually tried that when stopped while carrying? Maybe you live in a small town or rural area? Sure, don't say anything - just hand him the IDs is all I'm saying.

    riverkeeper - A fine point that maybe you aready implied - I wouldn't say anything until after he has had time to read and understand the paperwork, then wait for him to talk to you first. If you say "I have a gu..." while you are handing him the papers, then that may be as far as you get before he draws down on you.
  14. abuck50

    abuck50 Well-Known Member

    Aug 21, 2008
    NW Ohio
    In Ohio you are required to let the LEO know that you have a CCW and are carrying. when they call in your plates, they are notified that the owner of the vehicle has a CCW license. So when the officer approaches your car he is already suspecting that you have a firearm. I throw my wallet on the dash and keep my hands on the wheel and wait for him to arrive.

  15. randall

    randall New Member

    Aug 14, 2005
    Im a Michigunner and we do have to show our CCWs only if we are carying, and if we are, we have to declare it. Alot depends on the cop as to how you are treated, But as a rule if you are respectful and obey the officers requests whatever they may be "it seems there is no defind proticol for them" they all act differently, there are no wories. Now to change the subject slightly...Michigun and Florida recognize each others CCWs do other States with CCWs do the same? Michiguns especially, And if so is there a site that shows who does? Thanks :cool:
  16. adamsesq

    adamsesq New Member

    Dec 25, 2006
  17. doubloon

    doubloon New Member

    Jan 5, 2008
    Houston-ish, TX
    It was a verrrrry loooooong time ago, he did have probable cause, it was a revolver (they all were), the location was a very dark and out of the way two lane highway in an under developed area of Mississippi (is that redundant) and I was not quite legal drinking age.

    Policy? Mississippi backwoods sheriff? Near 40 years ago? I'm not sure we're talking about the same America.
  18. adamky

    adamky Well-Known Member

    Apr 14, 2006
    Louisville, KY
    In Kentucky, we aren't required to declare anything. So, I usually don't. I've been pulled over twice with a gun on me. Never mentioned it to the officer(s). Handed over my driver's license. Cop came back with a warning. I drove away.

    If a cop asks, I will tell the truth. But unless he asks, I'm not saying anything (assuming this is a typical traffic stop we are talking about).  It's not required by law, and I'm not a criminal, so whether I am carrying or not is really none of his business (unless he asks, and even then, I'm not sure Kentucky state law requires you to tell anything).

    Here's what I do when pulled over.

    1. Pull over somewhere safe, park the car.
    2. Turn interior light on, and keep both hands on steering wheel until instructed otherwise.
    3. Officer comes up to the window and asks for driver's license.
    4. Me: "Yes sir. It's in my back pocket and I'm going to reach for it now."
    5. I pull out wallet, give officer license.
    6. Hands return to steering wheel while I respond to officer's questions and wait for him to come back from his car.

    Moving around as you're getting pulled over makes you look very suspicious. The officer doesn't know if you're getting out your license, or stashing drugs/weapons. So, I don't get all my stuff ready as he's walking up. I keep everything where he can see it, and only move my hands off the steering well when asked to do something.

    Edit: I just realized I wrote pretty much the same thing Burley did. Oh well. Great minds think alike  :cool:
  19. gapman

    gapman Guest

    Feb 27, 2009
    i agree with everyone who said dont volunteer anything to the officer. they are just doing their job i realize but i dont want to give them any extra. i still dont know how most officers dont have more panic attacks from having to pull over so many people every day and never have any idea what they are walking up on. thanks goodness in GA we are not required to inform them.